Saturday, August 02, 2008

Just for Today, August 3

The humble man having received reproach, maintains himself well enough in peace, because he is fixed in God, and not in the world. If thou canst but hold thy peace and suffer, thou shalt see without doubt that the Lord will help thee.
-Bk. II, ch. ii.

She had been misunderstood, but only remarked gently: "How wise Our Lady was to keep all things in her heart. You cannot blame me for imitating her."
-Novissima Verba.
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts of St Augustine for August 3

There is this difference between heretics and bad Catholics: heretics believe that which is false, but bad Catholics, believing that which is true, do not carry out their faith in their lives.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Meditation for August 3, Useless Fretting

A certain man stricken by ill health made much ado about it, pitying himself considerably because blindness seemed inevitable. But it was not his sight God asked of him; it was rather his life, because he died shortly after the accident which injured his eyes. Thus his last days were darkened by worry over an evil which never happened to him. Would he not have done better to abandon himself completely to Providence and spend those days which were actually to be the last of his existence, in peace rather than poison them as he did, according to his fancy?

On a very narrow mountain path there was once a group of ad­venturesome travelers, who after having made quite a risky climb to an observatory they had believed easy to reach, were climbing down very unsteadily, their hands against the side of the mountain, their backs to the abyss below them. One thing only, concerned them, to avoid dizziness so as not to tumble over the abrupt descent against which the slippery path was but small protection. On the winding road above them another much livelier crowd was descend­ing the mountain. On their way down alas, they dislodged a stone that went bounding from slope to slope, The falling stone might easily have struck the most fearful of the frightened ones below, a fatal blow on the head. But she was overcome by fear of the precipice she saw opened at her side, whereas the real danger was from above, only she did not know it.

There is a good lesson in this. There is plenty of time to become saddened at an infirmity or a danger when it arrives. While waiting what is the good of fussing? Let Providence act according to His pleasure. After having taken the necessary precautions, let us not live in constant dread of evils which will never befall us. This is just plain common sense; it is also supernatural faith and confidence. Let us say in a general way the Deliver us from evilof the Our Father without trying to make in advance a catalogue of possible dangers which might threaten us. There is only one true evil, sin; all the rest can work good for those who love.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

The Letter Ignored By Countless Bishops and Conferences

A few days ago, LifeSiteNews published a letter from 1968 in which Pope Paul VI asked the world's bishops to stand firm with him in the Church's irreformable teaching against contraception and the release of the . As we know, many bishops, priests and laity rebelled against the Pope and the Church - and many did so openly. Today, we still witness and suffer the ill effects of that revolt.

Please read the letter here at LifeSiteNews or here at CatholicCulture.

"Homosexual Union is the Opposite of the Family"

An Interview with Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (Written by )

On October 29, 1992, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira granted an interview to the Brazilian newspaper, O Globo, about the problem of homosexuality and its threat to the family. We reproduce the interview for the benefit of our readers.

Q. What is your opinion about the increase of homosexuality in Brazilian society? Do you believe it harms family integrity?

The effect of homosexuality on the family in Brazil is the same as everywhere else.

Since the homosexual relationship is sterile by definition, it is destructive of the family; it is the opposite of the family, and the number one enemy of the family....Homosexuality is completely contrary to the natural order and therefore contrary to the family.....
An interview very well worth reading.

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

The Good Samaritan
By The Rev. Stephen Murphy, O.M.I.

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart,….and thy neighbor as thyself." -Luke x, 27.

The good Samaritan is compassion personified. The parable of the good Samaritan is a portrayal of Christ's merciful love for men. It is the pattern on which we are to form the love of God and neighbor.

I. A man, stripped by robbers, wounded and lying half dead on the highway between Jerusalem and Jericho, is the object of compassion.

Two ministers of the Jewish faith, both fresh from sacrificing in the temple, happened to travel the same road. They were horrified when they saw the man in such a pitiable state. They beheld his life-blood streaming from open gashes in his writhing limbs. Yet they did not venture to stretch forth a hand to raise him up. "What's the use? He is beyond human aid," each said to himself, "I have not enough for the needs of my own journey. Further, by tarrying here, my life is placed in the hands of these lurking bandits." And the sacred ministers hurried on in mortal dread lest they themselves should be implicated in this bloody deed. Were they justified in their minds for their unfeeling conduct? .We are bound to say not. The voice of conscience surely warned them that their failure to comfort a dying man was the selfish crime of craven and hardened hearts.

How refreshing, by contrast, is the self-forgetting compassion of the good Samaritan! In presence of his suffering fellow creature, expiring in his blood, he did not remember that he belonged to an alien race. He quite forgot that the poor stranger belonged to the race of Jews who hated the Samaritans so intensely, cursed them in their synagogues and would exclude them from a place in the resurrection of life. Nor did he take into account the personal risk and inconvenience he incurred.

Bending over the prostrate man, he. assuaged the agony of his wounds with a soothing mixture of wine and oil. He stanched the blood flow with strips torn from his own mantle. The helpless form he raised aloft on his own breast till he reached a wayside inn where friendly shelter was provided against the burning heat and wind. What more could he do, when, after supplying all immediate wants of the sick man, he promised the host a generous reward for whatever was necessary for his complete recovery?

II. The holy Fathers are almost unanimous in declaring that the parable of the good Samaritan is a portrayal of Christ's mission when He came to redeem the world.

The traveler, waylaid on the highway, is the human race. We see man stripped of his original justice by the old serpent, the devil, who was a robber and murderer from the beginning (John viii, 44). The life of his soul is fast expiring because of many a vicious passion and mortal stroke received from his encounter with hell. And this is the outcome of his misfortune when he turned his heart toward the wicked world, toward Jericho, the city of malediction (Josue vi, 26), after deserting his true city, Jerusalem, the city of the vision of peace.

The best that was in the Jewish religion--the priesthood itself--could not excite pity sufficient to lift up and restore this fallen creature. The compassionate heart of the Saviour alone could accomplish this miracle of love. Like the Samaritan on the highway near Jericho, His task of mercy was the greater because man belonged to a hostile race, guilty of manifold outrages against the majesty of heaven. But being the true Samaritan, Christ did not shrink from the dangers and personal sufferings inseparable from His mission of salvation. He did not despair, though the case of man seemed hopeless, though his powers seemed too weakened to be revived. The remedy applied, like the mingling of wine and oil, were the ruddy drops shed on Calvary and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The ligaments with which He bound up the sores were strips from His own vesture--the Sacraments indued with His proper virtue. Happy the human being, sick unto death, who is borne to the inn by the heavenly Physician and tenderly cared for in the House of God! Happy the pastors of the Church who will be munificently rewarded, on the Saviour's return, for the care they bestow upon the suffering souls confided to them by Christ!

III. Two practical applications may be made from the parable of the good Samaritan: One regarding the manner in which we are to love God; the other, regarding the esteem we should have for our neighbor.

As Christ, who is God, set no bounds to his love for men, we likewise must not limit our love of God. We know that Christ contained in Himself the Godhead corporally. He possessed, by His own right, the plenitude of the divine blessings. Like the precious ointment contained in the vase of Magdalen, these Divine blessings were enclosed in His Sacred Humanity. And when this Humanity was broken on Calvary, the gifts of heaven were poured out upon mankind, filling the world with its sweet aroma. What more could the Son of God have given us when, on the Cross, he sacrificed His Humanity and placed within our reach all the most excellent gifts? "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John xv, 13). Though by loving in return we may not repay all our debt to Christ, nevertheless let us be content with ever loving Him as much as we can. It is thus we will best fulfill the Divine precept. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with. thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind" (Luke x, 27).

The second practical application of the parable is this--that we should love our neighbor as we love our own selves. The love of self will be according to reason and Divine faith when we rightly esteem the dignity we possess in as much as we are made to the image and likeness of God. Our immortal souls are capable of knowing and loving the Divine beauty and of enjoying the beatific vision. And if we entertain a proper respect and esteem for the majesty of God, we will hold in the highest regard the image of God that we bear within ourselves. To preserve the nobility of that image intact, to keep its purity undefiled, we should be ready to make every sacrifice and endure any hardship whatsoever.

We should show no less readiness when called upon, by the law of charity, to make sacrifices for another human being. The good Samaritan has set us an example in this regard. Christ has also set us an example in dying for all of us and each one of us in particular. We are bound to follow in His footsteps, assisting in the measure of our powers, our suffering brethren, and helping them to reach heaven. There they are destined to be our companions when we repose in the everlasting love of God. There the measure of our happiness will be according .to the charity we have in this world displayed toward God and our neighbor.
Adapted from Plain Sermons by Practical Preachers, Vol. II(©1916)
Nihil Obstat: Remegius Lafort, S.T.D
Imprimatur: John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

Gospel for Saturday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of St. Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop and
Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, priest
Old Calendar: St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori, bishop, confessor and doctor; St. Stephen I, pope & martyr

From: Matthew 14:1-12

The Death of John the Baptist

[1] At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus; [2] and he said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist, he has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him." [3] For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; [4] because John said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her." [5] And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. [6] But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and pleased Herod, [7] so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. [8] Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter." [9] And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given; [10] he sent and had John beheaded in the prison, [11] and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. [12] And his disciples came and took the body and buried it; and they went and told Jesus.


1. Herod the tetrarch, Herod Antipas (see the note on Mt 2:1), is the same Herod as appears later in the account of the Passion (cf. Lk 23:7ff). A son of Herod the Great, Antipas governed Galilee and Perea in the name of the Roman emperor; according to Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian ("Jewish Antiquities", XVIII, 5, 4), he was married to a daughter of an Arabian king, but in spite of this he lived in concubinage with Herodias, his brother's wife. St. John the Baptist, and Jesus himself, often criticized the tetrarch's immoral life, which was in conflict with the sexual morality laid down in the Law (Lev 18:16;20:21) and was a cause of scandal.

3-12. Towards the end of the first century Flavius Josephus wrote of these same events. He gives additional information--specifying that it was in the fortress of Makeronte that John was imprisoned (this fortress was on the eastern bank of the Dead Sea, and was the scene of the banquet in question) and that Herodias' daughter was called Salome.

9. St Augustine comments: "Amid the excesses and sensuality of the guests, oaths are rashly made, which then are unjustly kept" ("Sermon 10").

It is a sin against the second commandment of God's Law to make an oath to do something unjust; any such oath has no binding force. In fact, if one keeps it--as Herod did--one commits an additional sin. The Catechism also teaches that one offends against this precept if one swears something untrue, or swears needlessly (cf. "St Pius V Catechism", III, 3, 24). Cf. note on Mt 5:33-37.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Just for Today, August 2

He that hath true and perfect charity seeks himself in no one thing; but desires only the glory of God in all things. He attributes nothing of good to any man, but refers it totally to God, from whom all things proceed as from their fountain; in the enjoyment of whom all the saints repose as in their last end.
-Bk. I, ch. xv.

She had been brought a sheaf of corn, and, taking an ear that was so full that the stalk bent under its weight, she looked long at it, and then said to the Prioress:
"This is a figure of my soul, weighed down with graces for myself and for many others. I will always bow down beneath the outpouring of divine grace, knowing that it is the gift of God."
-The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme).
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts of St Augustine for August 2

EVEN holy things may do us harm; in the good they work in a salutary way, in the bad they are instruments of judgement.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Meditation for August 2, Love of Ease

To surround oneself with many conveniences, no matter how virtuous one might be, is to prove that one will never be penitent or perfect.

In case of illness or undue fatigue which might be detrimental to the fulfillment of the duties of one's state or charitable relations, it is not only useful but strongly advisable to ask humbly for the necessary relaxations. This would be wisdom and humility.

The danger lies in an exaggerated seeking after comfort, and an unhealthy worry over little ailments or small troubles in work. "A person can seek conveniences without on that account lacking virtue, but the excessive self-love that would grow out of it is in­compatible with the spirit of poverty and perfection."

It would clash with the spirit of poverty if one demanded for the care of health or as an aid in work, any undue and unjustified expense.

It would violate the spirit of perfection, because the religious claims upon undertaking his new life, not to attach a too great importance to the well-being of the body or the comforts of life as do worldly persons. He claims to follow Our Lord to the Cross, even onto the Cross. Is it not in the moments when nature writhes and groans, that we have the best opportunity to show God that our vocation is sincere and that our renunciation is not only on paper.

But again, prudence and humility are essential. We must know how to manifest our needs and ask frankly for what would help us keep up our strength and be active in our work.

All this must be in accord with the spirit of our Institute, with absolute detachment, and the firm resolve to adhere to true re­ligious penance, and to conform ourselves to obedience, accepting with a filial spirit what our superiors think they can grant us, and with a still deeper filial spirit the refusals they believe necessary.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

More on the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

From the La Crosse Tribune:

Archbishop Raymond Burke, former bishop of the diocese of La Crosse, prays during the deposition of the relics portion of Thursday’s Mass of Dedication for the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Nine years after Archbishop Raymond Burke, former bishop of the La Crosse Diocese, first announced plans for the shrine, he dedicated the church at a Mass on Thursday that lasted more than three hours...
At 12:35 p.m., altar boys dressed in blue, knights and ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem — the women in black, the men in white — about 100 priests and 20 bishops and archbishops led the 20-minute procession to the church plaza....


To see photo galleries, videos, a timeline and an interactive tour of the shrine, click here.

News Updates, 8/1

Sympathetic to Chavez, schismatic church draws fire
Fueling debate over interplay of religion, politics

"A pretty cynical act”
Same-sex marriage proponent says California Attorney General Jerry Brown abused his office when he altered the November marriage initiative’s title and summary

Group questions New York diocese's finances
Rockville Centre sitting on $268 million in reserves

Vatican official to Lambeth conference
Homosexuality is a disordered behaviour that must be condemned

Catholic-Anglican relations reach new low
Cardinal Kasper: no hope for recognizing Anglican orders

Bishops criticize Loyola prof over articles
Catholic end-of-life ethics skewed in America magazine

Vandals hold 'kicking party' at Catholic cemetery
Aged gravestones knocked over and broken in Mass.

Guadalupe Shrine draws from the Midwest and beyond

The setting is so peaceful and scenic that shrine spokesman Jack Socha makes a point of warning against the temptations it will surely bring. The shrine is not a place to take your dog for a walk, he stresses, and it's also not a place to jump out of your car, snap a picture, and leave.

"It is meant to be an all-day affair where you come here to spend time," Socha said....

With the glimmering Shrine Church opening to the public Thursday, Socha talks about history being made as the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe expands its appeal.

"We consider this not just an area shrine, but a shrine for the entire country," he said....
More on this article here.

Another aricle, "Catholic pilgrimage site is a place to find peace," can be read here.

On Liberalism and Liberty

I. Notions Concerning Liberalism. (l)

There is a doctrine diametrically opposed to that of the Catholic Church regarding her powers and rights and her relations to the State. It bears falsely the name of Liberalism. (2)

We say falsely, because it is far from teaching and upholding true liberty. It is not easy to give a precise and full definition of liberalism, for the simple reason that it is really a purely negative system, something like Protestantism, and, like this, susceptible of numerous shades. We shall distinguish three classes of liberals, to which others can easily be assigned.

A. RADICALS, OR RADICAL LIBERALS.--They are rightly so called, because by removing every religious restraint they strike at the very roots and foundations of the social order. Of these Pope Leo XIII says, in his famous encyclical on Human Liberty:
"The partisans of naturalism and of rationalism are in philosophy what the abettors of liberalism are in the moral and civil order, since they introduce into morals and practical life the principles laid down by the partisans of naturalism. According to them, in practical life there is no divine power which they are bound to obey, but each one is a law unto himself. This gives rise to that morality called independent and which, under an appearance of liberty, turns the will from the observance of the divine precepts and leads man to unlimited license." (3)
CRITIQUE-lst. Between the Catholic Church and radical liberalism, which is really identical with naturalism and free thought, there is evidently positive and complete opposition. We do not need to refute it; we have already done so in demonstrating the existence of a religion revealed by God, and how all men are obliged to embrace the Catholic faith under pain of failing to attain the end for which they were created.

2d. It is not difficult to see the inevitable and disastrous effects of such a doctrine. It is of the greatest possible injury to the individual as well as to society. The Holy Father demonstrates this with great clearness and. convincing logic:
“To desire that there be no tie between man or civil society and God, the Creator and, consequently, the supreme Legislator of all things, is contrary to nature; make good and evil dependent upon the judgment of human reason alone, is to suppress the proper distinction between good and evil; there will be no longer any real difference between what is wrong and what is right, save in the opinion and judgment of the individual; whatsoever pleases him becomes lawful. Once we admit such moral doctrine, which is powerless to subdue or appease the disorderly movements of the soul, we open the way to all the corruptions of life....

"Once we repudiate the power of God over man and over human society, it is natural that society should no longer have any religion, and that everything relating to religion should become to it a matter of complete indifference. Armed with the idea of its sovereignty, the multitude will be easily led into sedition and revolt, and, the curb of duty and of conscience no longer existing, force will be the only resource--force, which is of little avail by itself to restrain the passions of the populace. We have a proof of this in the almost daily warfare waged against socialistic and other seditious sects which have been trying so long to destroy the State to its very foundation. Let, then, impartial minds judge and decide whether such doctrines are conducive to true liberty and are worthy of man, or whether they are not rather the ruin and complete destruction of society." (Encycl. cit.)

B. There is another kind of Liberals, called by Leo XIII Social or State Liberals. They do not formally deny all dependence of man upon God; they are satisfied to affirm the absolute independence of civil society as a society. According to them, the divine laws must regulate the life and conduct of individuals, but not that of governments or states. They would have it lawful in public things to deviate from the commands of God, and to legislate without any regard to them; the pernicious consequence of this is the Separation of Church and State and the axiom of No Religion in Politics.(4)

This milder Liberalism may be defined as the doctrine which claims for civil society an absolute independence in regard to religion. Or, again, the political school which admits but one sovereign authority, the State, and denies the necessary coexistence, distinction, and harmony of the two powers, temporal and spiritual. It may also be called social rationalism. It declares the people as a nation, and civil powers of all degrees, exempt from every obligation, and every duty toward any religious authority whatever. To them Christian revelation, Jesus Christ its Author, the Church which He established and which represents Him on earth, are as if they did not exist; they do not even know if Jesus Christ is God.

They have not to concern themselves with this question, which belongs, they say, to individuals; the existence of Jesus Christ and of His Church in no way affects the action of the State and its various powers. Thus, for example, when the legislature makes laws, the executive power, and the courts in applying them, have no need to consider whether these laws are or are not conformable to the law of God, to the express will of Jesus Christ, to the rights which He conferred upon His Church. Such liberals allege that though a man as an individual is free to live in private life as a Christian, he is forbidden to act as such in his public life and in the exercise of his functions.

Another consequence of these liberal principles is that where the State undertakes the work of instruction or public education its teaching, called neutral or unsectarian, must be atheistic, godless, without any religion; for all opinions, they say, must be respected. As to ethics or moral teaching, they are wary, it is true, of committing themselves, and to deceive simple minds they talk of independent, lay morality, etc. As if there could be a binding rule of morality without a supreme legislator and adequate sanction. How could it be imposed upon the conscience, deprived as it is of the truths on which it must necessarily rest?

CRITIQUE-lst. State liberalism, though less impious, no doubt, than radical liberalism, is nevertheless the antithesis of the doctrine which we stated in regard to the relations which should, in principle, exist between the two powers. We have refuted it by establishing our thesis with solid proofs.

Hence a faithful child of the Church cannot hesitate upon this point. For it is to be noted that these liberals present their doctrines as absolute truth; according to them it flows from principles of reason, and is consequently applicable to all times and to all places. Here is the judgment formulated by Leo XIII on this subject:
"For such a state of things to exist a civil community must needs have no duty toward God, or be able to disregard it with impunity, which is equally and manifestly false. It is a matter beyond doubt that the union of men in society is the work of the will of God, whether we consider the society in its members, in its form which is authority, in its cause, or in the number and importance of the advantages which it affords man. God made man for society, and to unite him with his fellow beings, in order that the needs of his nature, which his individual efforts could not supply, might find satisfaction in the association.

"For this reason civil society, as a society, must necessarily recognize God as its Principle and as its Author, and consequently render to His power and to His authority the homage of its worship. Neither in the name of reason nor of justice can the State be atheistic, or adopt a system which would result in atheism, that is, treat all religions alike, and grant them equal rights.

"Hence, as it is necessary to profess a religion in society, it must be the one true religion, readily recognized, at least in Catholic countries, by the striking marks of truth which it bears. This religion the heads of the State, therefore, are bound to preserve and protect if they would fulfill their obligation to provide prudently and profitably for the interest of the community.

"For public power was established for the benefit of the governed; and though its immediate end is to promote the temporal prosperity of citizens, it is the duty of rulers not to diminish but, on the contrary, to increase man's facility for attaining the supreme and sovereign good in which eternal happiness consists, and which is impossible without religion." (Encycl. cit.)

2d. If these State liberals were logical, there would be a fatal outbreak of radicalism, as in fact there has been among those who consistently followed their principles.

In reality radical liberals alone are logical. If God has no authority over man as a social being, i.e., when associated with his fellows in earthly pursuits, why should He have any authority over man in his private life? Has He, perhaps, created man for society in order that he may thus withdraw in part from the sovereign dominion of his Creator? Has He communicated a part of His power to civil authorities in order that they may turn their subjects from the fulfillment of certain duties toward the Divinity? God is either Master of man, everywhere and always, or He is not Master at all.

The nihilists of Russia and the anarchists of all countries are only carrying out the logical consequences of these liberal principles. It is true, as the Pope causes us to remark, that the partisans of liberalism do not give complete assent to such doctrines. Alarmed by the enormity of their claims, and appreciating perhaps that they are in opposition with truth, they would have reason remain subject to the natural law and to the divine, eternal law; but they do not admit that a man should submit to laws which it might please God to impose upon him in some other way than by means of natural reason. The Pope has no difficulty in demonstrating that on this point liberals contradict themselves.

3d. Of the disastrous effects of this liberalism we shall soon see more in the paragraph on "Modern Liberties." Suffice it to say that the work of this system usually goes much farther than its professions. It is not satisfied with affecting indifference toward religion; it is frequently its avowed and positive enemy, as its words and actions prove.

Look at what has taken place recently and what is still taking place in countries where liberalism rules. It is not difficult to recognize that the famous separation of Church and State is in reality only the absorption of the Church by the State, or the persecution of the Church by the State.

The ideal of liberalism is the old pagan Caesarism. It means the head of the government, whether one or many, wielding both the material and the spiritual sword, and thus monopolizing the control of education, constituting itself the sole teacher of society.

Where the laws and the public conscience do not permit it to realize this ideal it approximates as closely as possible to it by administrative measures as perfidious as they are numerous. There is, however, a difference between the present persecution and that of former times: today it is universal and the selfsame everywhere, its purpose being the complete destruction of the one true Church of Jesus Christ. The reason of this is that the real source of the persecution is none other than Freemasonry, of which liberalism is the willing servant.

C. We must here mention a third kind of liberalism which, under many various forms, has appeared at different periods of the Church's history. It took a more definite and tangible form during the last century and has been called "Catholic Liberalism" or "Liberal Catholicism." (5)

It is hardly to be expected that among Catholics living in an atmosphere saturated with the fatal germs of liberalism there will not be a few here and there contaminated by its teaching. It is not unusual, therefore, to find men who, heartily attached to the Church, and with a laudable desire to further what they consider her true interests, will try to effect an impossible compromise or reconciliation between the doctrines of liberalism and those of the Church; they will indulge in baseless dreams of a future when the spiritual and temporal power will be absolutely independent one of the other.

They will deem it a prudent policy on the part of the Church to pass over in silence Catholic truths opposed to current errors; to refrain from asserting certain rights which conflict with what are called modern ideas. Hence, without denying the teaching and unerring authority of the Church, they would, nevertheless, that the body of doctrines imposed as of faith upon all men be confined within the smallest possible limits, minimized, while free speculation and discussion of religious as well as philosophic questions must be given the widest range; dogmas already proclaimed must be allowed a wider and more liberal interpretation in accordance with the advance and development of modern ideas and science; the decrees of the Roman Congregations, especially the Holy Office and the Index, ought to be few and far between, lest they become so many stumbling-blocks to Catholic philosophers and scientists.

[Catholic Liberals maintain that] Doctrines offensive and distasteful to non-Catholics should not be too loudly preached from the pulpit, lest these people, instead of joining the fold, turn against the Church. Again, admitting the power of the Church "to bind and to loose," liberal Catholics find much to criticise in the present legislation and discipline of the Church restricting individual liberty (religious orders, marriage, rights of the laity, relations with the State, secret societies, communion with the sects, etc.); there is too much "medievalism" and "ultramontanism" in the Church, which, like a dead weight, keeps her "behind the times." (6)

"The principles on which the new opinions we have mentioned are based may be reduced to this: that in order the more easily to bring over to Catholic doctrine those who dissent from it, the Church ought to adapt herself somewhat to our advanced civilization, and, relaxing her ancient rigor, show some indulgence to modern popular theories and methods. Many think that this is to be understood not only with regard to the rule of life, but also to the doctrines in which the deposit of faith is contained. For they contend that it is opportune, in order to work in a more attractive way upon the wills of those who are not in accord with us, to pass over certain heads of doctrine, as if of lesser moment, or to so soften them that they may not have the same meaning which the Church has invariably held.... The followers of these novelties judge that a certain liberty ought to be introduced into the Church, so that, limiting the exercise and vigilance of its powers, each one of the faithful may act more freely in pursuance of his own natural bent and capacity. They affirm, namely, that this is called for in order to imitate that liberty which, though quite recently introduced, is now the law and the foundation of almost every civil community."
To the above demands of liberal Catholicism the Pope answers in the same letter as follows:
"Few words are needed to show how reprehensible is the plan that is thus conceived, if we but consider the character and origin of the doctrine which the Church hands down to us. On that point the Vatican Council says:
'The doctrine of faith which God has revealed is not proposed like a theory of philosophy which is to be elaborated by the human understanding, but as a divine deposit delivered to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully guarded and infallibly declared.... That sense of the sacred dogmas is to be faithfully kept which Holy Mother Church has once declared, and is not to be departed from under the specious pretext of a more profound understanding.'
"Nor is the suppression to be considered altogether free from blame which designedly omits certain principles of Catholic doctrine and buries them, as it were, in oblivion. For there is the one and the same Author and Master of all the truths that Christian teaching comprises, the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father. That they are adapted to all ages and nations is plainly deduced from the words which Christ addressed to His apostles: Going therefore, teach ye all nations: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. Wherefore the same Vatican Council says:
'By the divine and Catholic faith those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God, either written or handed down, and are proposed by the Church, whether in solemn decision or by the ordinary universal magisterium, to be believed as having been divinely revealed.'
“Far be it, then, from anyone to diminish or for any reason whatever to pass over anything of this divinely delivered doctrine; whosoever would do so would rather wish to alienate Catholics from the Church than to bring over to the Church those who dissent from it.... If anything is suggested by the infallible teaching of the Church, it is certainly that no one should wish to withdraw from it, nay, that all should strive to be thoroughly imbued with and be guided by its spirit, in order to be the more easily preserved from any private error whatsoever.

"To this we may add that those who argue in that wise quite set aside the wisdom and providence of God; who, when He desired in that very solemn decision to affirm the authority and teaching office of the Apostolic See, desired it especially in order the more efficaciously to guard the minds of Catholics from the dangers of the present times. The license which is commonly confounded with liberty; the passion for saying and reviling everything; the habit of thinking and of expressing everything in print, have cast such deep shadows on men's minds that there is now greater utility and necessity for this office of teaching than ever before, lest men should be drawn away from conscience and duty.

"It is far indeed from our intention to repudiate all that the genius of the time begets; nay, rather, whatever the search for truth attains, or the effort after good achieves, will always be welcome by us, for it increases the patrimony of doctrine and enlarges the limits of public prosperity. But all this, to possess real utility, should thrive without setting aside the authority and wisdom of the Church."

In regard to the laws and discipline of the Church the Pope says:
"The rule of life which is laid down for Catholics is not of such a nature as not to admit modifications, according to the diversity of time and place. The Church indeed possesses what her Author has bestowed on her, a kind and merciful disposition; for which reason from the very beginning she willingly showed herself to be what Paul proclaimed in his own regard: I became all things to all men, that I might save all.

"The history of all past ages is witness that the Apostolic See, to which not only the office of teaching, but also the supreme government of the whole Church, was committed, has constantly adhered to the same doctrine, in the same sense and in the same mind; but it has always been accustomed to so modify the rule of life that, while keeping the divine right inviolate, it has never disregarded the manners and customs of the various nations which it embraces. If required for the salvation of souls, who will doubt that it is ready to do so at the present time?

"But this is not to be determined by the will of private individuals, who are mostly deceived by the appearance of right, but ought to be left to the judgment of the Church. He who would have Christian virtues to be adapted, some to one age and others to another, has forgotten the words of the Apostle: Whom He foreknew He also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of His Son. The Master and exemplar of all sanctity is Christ, to whose rule all must conform who wish to attain to the throne of the blessed.

"Now, Christ does not change with the progress of the ages, but is yesterday and today, and the same forever. To the men of all time is addressed the lesson: Learn of Me because I am meek and humble of heart; and at all times Christ shows Himself to us as becoming obedient unto death, and in every age also the word of the Apostle holds: And they that are Christ's have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences. Would that more would cultivate those virtues in our day, after the example of the holy men of the past! Those who by humbleness of spirit, by obedience and abstinence, were powerful in word and work, were powerful aids not only to religion but to the State and society."

To be Continued...

(1) Pius IX., Syllabus of 1864; Leo XIII., Encyclicals on Socialism, etc., 1878, Matrimony, 1880, Civil Government, 1881, Freemasonry, 1884, 1892, Christian States, 1885, Human Liberty, 1888, Christian Citizenship, 1890; Apostolic Letters to the Emperor of Brazil, 1889, to the Bishops of Italy, 1890, of France, 1892, of Hungary, 1893; Pallen, What is Liberalism?; Brownson, Liberalism and the Church; Br. W. vii. 305; D. R. New Ser. xviii. 1,285, xxv. 202, xxvi. 204, 487, III. Ser. xv. 58.

(2) It is important, above all things not to confound Liberalism as it existed for a certain period with the Liberalism of the present day, for one differs essentially from the other. Only the name has been retained, the more easily to deceive unthinking minds.
Formerly Liberalism meant a system, or rather a political tendency, opposed to Centralism or Absolutism, favoring in a great measure the participation of the citizens in the government of the State, and procuring, particularly, a large autonomy of individuals and families, of private associations communities, and provinces in the administration of their own interests. It was, in other terms, a tendency favorable to political and to social liberty. In this acceptation of the term it is evident that Catholics would be excellent Liberals, or rather that they alone, at the present day, would have the right to bear the name. Catholics are in fact wholly favorable to political and civil liberty as we shall describe it elsewhere. They particularly claim for each one, in the reasonable limits of natural law, freedom to dispose of his person, of his acts, to embrace the life or the profession he pleases, to form associations for an honest purpose, to dispose of his fortune during his life and decree by will the disposition to be made of it after his death according to the inspiration of his conscience, and without interference on the part of the civil power. Catholics desire no less the independence of their country, and freedom to govern according to its own laws. If they live under a government which admits modern liberties, they respect the government constituted to meet the present needs of society, and if they complain, it is only when unjust restrictions violate the liberty of citizens and the rights made sacred by the Constitution of their country.-AUTHOR.

Besides this Political Liberalism there is a system of political economy sometimes called Economic Liberalism (see Devas, Polito Economy, p. 552). Both systems arc to a certain extent represented by the famous Liberal Party of England. Our treatise has nothing; to do with either system, being concerned exclusively with Liberalism in Religion.-EDITOR.

(3) Ming, Data of Modern Ethics, ch. 10, 11; Lilly, Right and Wrong.

(4) I. E. R., Sep. 1894; M. S. H., June 1901;. U.. B., Jan-. 1897.

(5) This latter term is used in the celebrated joint Pastoral Letter upon this subject addressed to their flock by the Catholic hierarchy of England, Dec. 29. 1900. It was submitted to the judgment of the Holy Father, who, in turn, sent a most flattering letter to the English bishops, praising them for their "timely and prudent exhortation." For, he says, "too well known is the actual and threatening mischief of that body of fallacious opinions which is commonly designated as 'Liberal Catholicism.'" The Pastoral is found in the M. S. H., Feb. 1901.

(6) This paragraph has been slightly modified by the editor, who has also added the following extracts from the letter of Leo XIII to Cardinal Gibbons, Jan. 22, 1899. See also Rickaby, Oxf. Conf., s. ii.; Tyrrell, Faith of Mill., 1., p. 68; Ward, Geo., Doctr. Auth., Essays 1-4; M. S. H., Feb. 1901; I. E. R., March 1903; M., May 1898.
Adapted from Christian Apologetics: A Defense of the Catholic Faith(©1903)
by Rev W. Devivier, S.J.
Edited by The Rt. Rev. S.G.Messmer, D.D., D.C.L (Bishop of Green Bay)
Imprimatur: John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York

Gospel for August 1, Memorial: St Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor

Friday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time
Old Calendar: St. Peter's Chains (Lammas Day); Holy Machabees, martyrs

From: Matthew 13:54-58

No One is a Prophet in His Own Country

[54] And coming to His (Jesus') own country He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? [55] Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brethren James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? [56] And are not all His sisters with us? Where then did this Man get all this?" [57] And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house." [58] And He did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.


53-58. The Nazarenes' surprise is partly due to people's difficulty in recognizing anything exceptional and supernatural in those with whom they have been on familiar terms. Hence the saying, "No one is a prophet in his own country." These old neighbors were also jealous of Jesus. Where did He acquire this wisdom? Why Him rather than us? They were unaware of the mystery of Jesus' conception; surprise and jealousy cause them to be shocked, to look down on Jesus and not to believe in Him: "He came to His own home, and His own people received Him not" (John 1:11).

"The carpenter's son": this is the only reference in the Gospel to St. Joseph's occupation (in Mark 6:3 Jesus Himself is described as a "carpenter"). Probably in a town like Nazareth the carpenter was a general tradesman who could turn his hand to jobs ranging from metalwork to making furniture or agricultural implements.

For an explanation of Jesus' "brethren", see the note on Matthew 12:46-47.

[The note of Matthew 12:46-47 states:
46-47. "Brethren": ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and other languages had no special words for different degrees of relationship, such as are found in more modern languages. In general, all those belonging to the same family, clan and even tribe were "brethren".

In the particular case we have here, we should bear in mind that Jesus had different kinds of relatives, in two groups--some on His mother's side, others on St. Joseph's. Matthew 13:55-56 mentions, as living in Nazareth, James, Joseph, Simon and Judas ("His brethren") and elsewhere there is reference to Jesus' "sisters" (cf. Matthew 6:3). But in Matthew 27:56 we are told that James and Joseph were sons of a Mary distinct from the Blessed Virgin, and that Simon and Judas were not brothers of James and Joseph, but seemingly children of a brother of St. Joseph.

Jesus, on the other hand, was known to everyone as "the son of Mary" (Mark 6:3) or "the carpenter's son" (Matthew 13:55).

The Church has always maintained as absolutely certain that Jesus had no brothers or sisters in the full meaning of the term: it is a dogma that Mary was ever-Virgin (cf. note on Matthew 1:25).]
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thoughts of St Augustine for August 1

Chaff has a likeness to wheat; it proceeds from the same seed, grows in one field, is nourished by the same rain, has the same reaper, goes through the same process of threshing, has the same harvest, but it does not replenish the same garner.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)

Just for Today, August 1

I will go before thee, and will humble the great ones of the earth (Is. xlv, 2), I will open the gates of the prison, and reveal to thee hidden secrets.
-Bk. III, ch. xxiii.

I showed her a picture of St Joan of Arc in prison, comforted by her voices: "I too am comforted by an interior voice," she said, "the Saints encourage me from Heaven, and tell me that as long as I am in fetters I cannot fulfil my mission, but that after my death will begin the time of my conquests."
-Conseils et Souvenirs.
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day-Introduction

The "Thoughts and Counsels" posts have gone past one year and needed to be replaced with something else. I have chosen this little book which has reflections and thoughts of St Augustine compiled by Kathleen Mary Balfe.

This small book was published by Burns, Oates and Washbourne in 1926. First is the forward by Fr. Martindale. The reflection for August 1 will be posted later. I anticipate posing these daily meditation for the next year. Enjoy and God Bless!


We have sometimes wondered what the myriads who start upon reading the "Con­fessions" of St Augustine expect to find in them. We can hardly suppose that they will study carefully all those pages of pro­found philosophy. For the myriads are not philosophers. Perhaps, forgetting, or not knowing, that "Confessions" does not mean a catalogue of sins, but the soul's complete recognition of God, worship of him, grati­tude to him, musing upon him, they do expect something that might be more suitably looked for from de Quincey or Rousseau. But when they do not find it they go on reading. At least each generation continues insatiably their perusal of the Saint whose other works they may leave wholly to one side, no less fascinating, in every sense in which the "Confessions" fascinates, though they be.

In this we see a proof that Augustine must have something so human in him, yet so vast, that all those different minds and tem­peraments that approach him feel that he understands them, sympathizes with them, and speaks to them "heart to heart." And this is indeed what happens.

And since this most wholly human Saint is manifestly in closest touch with God, no one but feels that he too can somehow "touch God," since St Augustine, who is so like himself, could do so. We welcome, then, any book which will send men and women of today to a man whom they cannot call inhuman, and who is also a friend of God, and who, unlike some friends who are jeal­ously monopolist, is only too anxious that others too should enter into that great friendship.

Besides this we believe that Augustine's world in many strange ways was very like our own. Perhaps, once more, every period really contains all the elements of every other, all the woes and hopes, the happiness and the squalor of humanity. Therefore, a "total" soul, like Augustine's, so represents and expresses all that is in his period, that men afflicted by the malady of whatever age they live in seem to recognize their period, quite clearly, in Augustine's own. But we think there is more to be said than that.

Augustine lived, and died, when a great civilization was breaking up. The Roman Empire was going down in crash after crash. In a sense he was worse off than we are. For a vague and diffused culture has accus­tomed us to the idea that there have been other civilizations and empires besides our own, and we know that they have disappeared, and cannot see why, in the nature of things, our own should not do so too. But perhaps Augustine, even with his knowledge of the East, was more under the spell of the univer­sality and eternity of Rome than we are under that of the modern age and world.

Hence to him the manifest disintegration of his world seemed appalling in its finality. It was a true consummation of an age. What should happen next he could not guess. Over against his empire--the City or Estate of this world--he could but set, not another civilization more or less like its predecessor, but the City of God only. Be that as it may, his world was full of a panic-haunted restlessness, of despondency, and of inability to work. Unexamined principles were sim­ply disappearing under the rude shock of fact: experiments were being desperately and chaotically tried, but still without principles to warrant hopes of their success; people were trying to patch things up, at least for the time being, with an ever-dwindling hope or superstition that somehow things would right themselves, and that society, the Roman Unity, would survive.

But underlying it was the immense despondency due to the inner­most conviction that it would not. Hence the vast rush towards novelty and amuse­ment as an anodyne, and the inability to turn the mind and the hand to serious work. Within this there remained, I know, a few men who pathetically kept to the old conven­tions; even when the final crash had come, they continued the immemorial pagan prac­tices in which they had been brought up and from which they had often learnt to live like decent gentlefolks. Amid the welter of barbarism, there remained those civilized country-houses which were determined to keep up the old standards at least so long as they could.

And in the city there were sena­tors, politicians, civic officers, who did hom­age still to ancient customs of worship and of general procedure, and who quieted their nerves with old discreet philosophies. But all the same, in their hearts they knew that this framework within which they kept them­selves together was not the same as a princi­ple, held with conviction, and that the life of the thing had died in its heart, and that the death was spreading to the surface too.

This is extraordinarily like our time, when we see either the Catholic Faith, with its Dogmas and its Law, or a flooding scepticism as to the meaning and value of life itself.

Hence the desire to work, not for the glory or the intrinsic beauty of proud lovableness of the achievement, but in order to make quick money: and the use of money, on the whole, has degenerated into the obtaining of amusement. Hence, too, the inability to work, noticeable in so many. Hence, working backwards, our despondency, since every­thing has been tried and failed and no one can be trusted; and hence that restless individualism which is the antithesis of ordered society or peace. Among us, too, are pathetic obstinate survivals; but they them­selves acknowledge that they are but monu­ments of an old vitality with no future, rather than anything creative.

If such a vision be called pessimist, it would be rightly so-called, were it without the added element that Augustine's vision included; and his would have been pessimist, and constantly was all but actually so, with­out his added element of faith in the pro­mises of God, and the Truth and Law of Christ. Thus to the restlessness he could oppose serene stability; to the melancholy, indomitable force; to the inanition, ardour and high enterprise.

Hence, too, I suppose, Augustine's vision, clear as any Greek's, became passionate; his was not that dawning sentimentality of the later Roman which marked a very deep cor­ruption of temperament indeed; nor that neurotic fever of the soul that you see in the pagans and the heretics of his own Africa. But his passion was so deep, so strong, being based on, and infusing, a vision of such steady truth that he could even give rein, safely, to that passion. He could cry Ama, et fac quod vis ("Do but love and you can do as you please"). For that smoky passion that can impart a glow as of life and worth to the mere objects of instinct is indeed no safe guide.

Often must a man do the oppo­site of what it suggests to him. But when a man loves the clear vision of Truth, he will only want to do what is in harmony with it--all else is shown forthwith as ugly and as hateful--and he can let himself follow triumphantly whither the vision beckons. All that he wants has become worthy and right: he may do, and should do, what "pleases" him.

Hence a book that may help us to see what 5t Augustine saw, and see it with eyes that, like his, were loving, is a great gift to our times which have lost the vision, and with it, the very power, one would say, of loving.

-C. C. Martindale, S.J.
From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)

Meditation for August 1, The Vow of Obedience

Obedience has for its aim not only to make us do for ourselves at every instant what is best in itself, but to permit God to accom­plish through us at each instant, what is best for Him.

This is a good answer to the objections which rise in me at times against certain commands: "It would be better to do it this way," or "this should be commanded rather than that."

It is possible that in itself such a judgment might be just. There is certainly nothing to prevent my making respectfully whatever representations I think are necessary. The superiors seek nothing better than to further the advancement of their subjects' work. I must give them credit for this and lighten the burdens that often weigh heavily upon them.

But once having expressed my opinion, I have nothing to do but yield in a spirit of faith, should my superiors decide contrary to my views. What I am requested to do is perhaps not the best in itself; it is assuredly the best for God. What God desires far more than clever works is detached hearts; far more than dexterous hands does He seek keen intelligence and compliant hearts for the one thing necessary.

Jean de Quintanadone, who introduced the Reform of Carmel into France, complained to God of his inability to serve Him well.

"What prevents you from serving Me?"

"The hindrance comes from myself."

"Since you have given Me all you have, I take it. But now, I con­fide it to you again not as your possession, but as Mine."

"Yes, Lord, I will live henceforth, not as belonging to myself but entirely to You."

This is what obedience effects. When I give everything back to Our Lord, all will be transformed into service of God.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Confraternity of Catholic Clergy Call for Reparation in Response to Communion Desecration

Contact: Rev. Fr. John Trigilio, Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, 717-957-2662

BALTIMORE, Maryland, July 29 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (a national association of 600 priests & deacons) respond to the sacrilegious and blasphemous desecration of the Holy Eucharist by asking for public reparation. We ask all Catholics of Minnesota and of the entire nation to join in a day of prayer and fasting that such offenses never happen again.

We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional. His flagrant display of irreverence by profaning a consecrated Host from a Catholic church goes beyond the limit of academic freedom and free speech....

At Lambeth, Cardinal Kasper Calls for Another Newman (Chiesa)

He was the most famous of the converts to the Church of Rome. The pope's representative at the conference of Anglican bishops asks them to return to the model of the apostolic Church. No to women bishops, and to gay bishops. The complete text of the address...

News Updates, 7/31

“A less rushed, more reverent way of praying”
The Holy See approves the first part of the English translation of the Roman Missal

U.S. bishops: Vote your conscience
(No matter how malformed or dead it may be)
'You may vote for a person who is pro-choice DEATH'

Female Anglican: male bishops beat their wives
Archbishop of York responds: show us some evidence

Pope gives blessing for ex-bishop to lead Paraguay
Fernando Lugo was priest, bishop at time of election

New Catholic college coming to western Michigan
Cardinal Newman Liberal Arts Project to open in 2009

Catholics complain to feds about immigration raids
Apparently unconcerned about a new form of SLAVERY

Priest accused of taking $112,000 from church
Suburban Chicago pastor was feeding gambling addiction

Jewish group condemns Christian funeral of Nazi
Called an 'outrageous display of unrepentant racism'

Rulings pave way for trial of Kansas abortionist
George Tiller 'the Killer' up on 19 misdemeanor charges

Gospel for July 31, Memorial: St Ignatius of Loyola, Priest

Old Calendar: St. Ignatius of Loyola, confessor

From: Matthew 13:47-53

The Net

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [47] "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; [48] when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. [49] So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, [50] and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.

[51] "Have you understood all this?" They said to Him, "Yes." [52] And He said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the Kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."

[53] And when Jesus had finished these parables He went away from there.


47. "Fish of every kind": almost all the Greek manuscripts and early translations say "All kinds of things". A dragnet is very long and about two meters wide; when it is extended between two boats it forms double or triple mesh with the result that when it is pulled in it collects all sorts of things in addition to fish--algae, weeds, rubbish, etc.

This parable is rather like the parable of the cockle, but in a fishing context: the net is the Church, the sea the world.

We can easily find in this parable the dogmatic truth of the Judgment: at the end of time God will judge men and separate the good from the bad. It is interesting to note our Lord's repeated references to the last things, especially Judgment and Hell: He emphasizes these truths because of man's great tendency to forget them: "All these things are said to make sure that no one can make the excuse that he does not know about them: this excuse would be valid only if eternal punishment were spoken about in ambiguous terms" (St. Gregory the Great, "In Evangelia Homilae", 11).

52. "Scribe": among the Jews a scribe was a religious teacher, a specialist in sacred Scripture and its application to life. Our Lord here uses this word to refer to the Apostles, who will have the role of teachers in His Church. Thus, the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops, are the "Ecclesia docens", the teaching Church; they have the authority and the mission to teach. The Pope and the Bishops exercise this authority directly and are also helped in this by priests. The other members of the Church form the "Ecclesia discens", the learning Church. However, every disciple of Christ, every Christian who has received Christ's teaching, has a duty to pass this teaching on to others, in language they can understand; therefore, he should make sure he has a good grasp of Christian doctrine. The treasure of Revelation is so rich that it can provide teaching which applies to all times and situations. It is for the word of God to enlighten all ages and situations--not the other way around. Therefore, the Church and its pastors preach, not new things, but a single unchanging truth contained in the treasure of Revelation: for the past two thousand years the Gospel has always been "good news".
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Just for Today, July 31

What marvel, if I should be wholly set on fire by Thee, and should die to myself; since Thou art a fire always burning and never decaying; a Love purifying the heart and enlightening the understanding.
-Bk. IV, ch. xvi.

Remember, Lord, that Thou didst yearn
To set man's heart aflame
With that consuming fire of love
Which from Thine own Heart came!
If from a little spark can spring
A mighty fire, Oh! then
May my heart's love run through the world
And fire the hearts of men!

For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - July 31

Put not off till tomorrow what you can do to­day.

-St. Ignatius.
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for July 31, St. Ignatius of Loyola

The spirituality of the Jesuits has a fourfold character.

It is a psychological spirituality, that is, it is fundamentally in­spired by life; it is based not on books, but on actual life experience. It tends to life--not only to a technique of prayer but also to a complete regulation of one's existence. It utilizes all the riches of life, the body, sensibility, imagination, intelligence, and will, all in their proper order. It is adaptable to every life. St. Ignatius was at first very much drawn by the austerity of a life in the desert, but he understood that what God asked of him was quite different.

Secondly, it is an active and militant spirituality demanding the widest unfolding of the power of the will; not only simple sun ray treatments but a getting down to the ground in virile exercises of effective love.

Thirdly, it is a Christo-centric spirituality. Jesus is the Leader to whom one wishes to devote himself entirely without any calcula­tions. He is the model that one seeks to reproduce as perfectly as possible. He will be the Friend to whom one will give his undivided heart.

Finally, it is an apostolic spirituality. Two hundred fifty-nine times in the Constitution of his order, about once on every page, does St. Ignatius express a challenge to this apostolic spirituality for the greater glory of God. It is not merely a matter of sancti­fying onself alone, but of sanctifying the whole world. Nothing helps us to understand St. Ignatius better than St. Francis Xavier.
"I will ask God to bless the sons of St. Ignatius, to make them always
faithful to their holy vocation. If it is given to me to use their spirituality I will strive to draw as much as I can upon its capacity for sanc­tifying, for my own profit."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

News Updates, 7/31

Guadalupe shrine to be dedicated in Wisconsin
Latin American-inspired dome church sits in wooded bluff

“A complete about-face”
Attorney General Jerry Brown changes wording of the ballot initiative to protect marriage; backers of Proposition 8 threaten a lawsuit

Rockford diocese drops Mundelein seminary
Two seminarians propositioned youth for 'gay' favors

Nurse gave wrong woman chemical abortion
Misoprostol pill caused stomach pains and bleeding

British gov't: kids need condom lessons
Compulsory lessons to children as young as 11?

Bishop listens to two abused brothers
Victims at the hands of a cabal of pedophile priests

Cost of Katrina damage to Catholic Church: $288M
Schools, churches, housing and nursing homes destroyed

Anglican leader to punish rulebreaker churches
Last-ditch attempt to prevent a total split

Vatican encourages Anglican traditionalists
Cardinal Levada promises 'serious attention'

Gospel for Wednesday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, bishop and doctor
Old Calendar: Saints Abdon and Sennen, martyrs

From: Matthew 13:44-46

The Hidden Treasure; The Pearl

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [44] "The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

[45] "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, [46] who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it."


44-46. In these two parables Jesus shows the supreme value of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the attitude people need if they are to attain it. The parables are very alike, but it is interesting to note the differences: the treasure means abundance of gifts; the pearl indicates the beauty of the Kingdom. The treasure is something stumbled upon; the pearl, the result of a lengthy search; but in both instances the finder is filled with joy. Faith, vocation, true wisdom, desire for Heaven, are things which sometimes are discovered suddenly and unexpectedly, and sometimes after much searching (cf. St. Gregory the Great, "In Evangelia Homilae", 11). However, the man's attitude is the same in both parables and is described in the same terms: "he goes and sells all that he has and buys it": detachment, generosity, is indispensable for obtaining the treasure.

"Anyone who understands the Kingdom which Christ proposes realizes that it is worth staking everything to obtain it [...]. The Kingdom of Heaven is difficult to win. No one can be sure of achieving it, but the humble cry of a repentant man can open wide its doors" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 180).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Just for Today, July 30

If thou hadst a right spirit within thee, and were purified from earthly affections, all things would turn to thy good and to thy profit. For this reason do many things displease thee, and often trouble thee, because thou art not as yet perfectly dead to thyself, nor separat­ed from all earthly things.
-Bk. II, ch. i.

It is true that I am not always faithful, but I do not give way to discouragement; I just place myself in Our Lord's arms, and He teaches me to draw profit from both the good and the bad in me. He shows me how to gamble on the bank of love, or rather, He makes all the investments without consulting me. It is not my concern to know how much I am winning; what I have to do is to give myself entirely to Him. After a11, I am no prodigal, there is no need for Him to prepare a feast for me, because I am always with him (Luke xv, 31).

For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - July 30

It suffices not to perform good works; we must do them well, in imitation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it is written, "He doeth all things well."

-St. Vincent de Paul
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for July 30, My Eyes

Have I a mastery over my eyes? The purpose of modesty of the eyes is by no means to force me to go about in a strained, arti­ficial and affected manner, but to help my interior recollection, to edify my neighbor and to habituate me to self-control.

Nothing is more helpful than to keep my eyes cast down, pro­vided I am not hypocritical about it, endeavoring to create the im­pression that I see nothing, whereas I manage to be well informed on all that happens. An unnatural constraint causing loss of peace and a fear of contemplating the beauty of things is decidedly not desirable. I can go to God by looking or by not looking, provided I do either in good earnest and in a spirit of praise and adoration.

Our Lord in the Gospel enjoins upon all the faithful to keep the eye single that all in them might be pure. Let me never forget that the first sin in the world was a sin of the eyes, a woman's sin, a sin committed by an almost perfect creature. I am not less. weak than Eve. Therefore, I must exercise a careful, wise and quiet modesty, a firmness that is both unyielding and pliable.

Only a glance is needed at times to compromise interior peace, to stir up a tempest in the heart, to unleash a temptation upon me. Who can tell to what it leads? Sin.

Watch, said Our Lord. One watches by keeping his eyes open, but vigilance often consists in knowing how to close them.

Should my eyes ever become for me an occasion of serious faults, I know the warning of Our Lord, rather pluck them out. That is His way of telling me vividly that for nothing in the world should I use such a gift of God to offend Him.

"O Jesus grant that I may use my eyes intelligently, loyally and courageously. Mary, I offer you in advance all my glances."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Catholic School Teacher "Channels" Padre Pio

Is someone asleep at the wheel?
Dottie Zimmerman is a 63-year-old mother of three, an award-winning religion teacher at a Toledo Catholic school, a former Ursuline nun, and a director of the Children's Theatre Workshop.

For the last five years, Mrs. Zimmerman also says she has been "channeling" Padre Pio, letting the dead Italian Catholic saint mystically speak through her.

It is a "gift," she said, and although she never asked for it she believes she must use it to help others, especially children....
It's for the children...hmmm, where have we heard that before?

Mrs. Zimmerman said in a recent interview that although she doesn't channel Padre Pio publicly very often, she hears from him almost daily.
I'm certain. Does the Diocese of Toledo have any exorcists?

An eighth-grade religion teacher at St. Patrick of Heatherdowns School for nearly 30 years, Mrs. Zimmerman said she felt as though spiritual conversations had been percolating within her for years before she began to explore her gift.

She had dismissed the voices as figments of her overactive imagination.
Figments of an overactive imagination? Color me skeptical...

Aug 10-An Evening with Dale Ahlquist

Make reservations now!
From Credo of the Catholic Laity:

Join Us for an Evening of Wit and Wonder

Dale Ahlquist

speaking on

The Orthodoxy of G.K. Chesterton

6 p.m. Sunday,
August 10th, 2008

The host of the EWTN series G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense will re-introduce Chesterton’s seminal book Orthodoxy on the 100th anniversary of its publication.

Come and hear about the thinker who converted the young atheist C.S. Lewis to Christianity.

Centrally located in Clayton
Dinner and Talk $25

Reservations Required!

For more information,
visit or
call 314-894-6003

News Updates, 7/29

Will Benedict XVI visit Arabian peninsula?
King Hamad invites Holy Father to visit Bahrain

In 1968, something terrible happened in the Church”
Cardinal Stafford reflects on how dissenters to Humanae Vitae tore the Church apart – and how rift left scars that remain to this day

“Aggressive protesters”
California Governor signs law that could mean tougher stance by law enforcement against pro-lifers outside abortion centers

Court: Gay proselytism permitted in schools
ACLU help parents and students sue Florida high school

Catholic agency to allow homosexuals to adopt
Group will comply with new law on same-sex couples

Iraqi Christian's path to the priesthood
Seminarian: 'We were on own from the first day of war'

'Gay sex' is a sin, say 4 in 5 Protestants
Most Christians believe gays should not be ordained

Church attacks Ecuador's draft constitution
Bishops: Incompatible with Catholic faith on abortion

England's 'Mother Teresa' could be made saint
Gave lifeline to thousands during Industrial Revolution

Gospel for July 29, Memorial: St. Martha, Disciple of the Lord

Memorial of St. Martha, virgin
Old Calendar: St. Martha

From: John 11:19-27

The Raising of Lazarus (Continuation)

[19] And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. [20] When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met Him, while Mary sat in the house. [21] Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. [22] And even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You." [23] Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." [24] Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." [25] Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, [26] and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" [27] She said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He who is coming into the world."


1-45. This chapter deals with one of Jesus' most outstanding miracles. The Fourth Gospel, by including it, demonstrates Jesus' power over death, which the Synoptic Gospels showed by reporting the raising of the daughter of Jairus (Matthew 9:25 and paragraph) and of the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:12).

The Evangelist first sets the scene (verses 1-16); then he gives Jesus' conversation with Lazarus' sisters (verses 17-37); finally, he reports the raising of Lazarus four days after his death (verses 38-45). Bethany was only about three kilometers (two miles) from Jerusalem (verse 18). On the days prior to His passion, Jesus often visited this family, to which He was very attached. St. John records Jesus' affection (verses 3, 5, 36) by describing His emotion and sorrow at the death of His friend.

By raising Lazarus our Lord shows His divine power over death and thereby gives proof of His divinity, in order to confirm His disciples' faith and reveal Himself as the Resurrection and the Life. Most Jews, but not the Sadducees, believed in the resurrection of the body. Martha believed in it (cf. verse 24).

Apart from being a real, historical event, Lazarus' return to life is a sign of our future resurrection: we too will return to life. Christ, by His glorious resurrection through He is the "first-born from the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:20; Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5), is also the cause and model of our resurrection. In this His resurrection is different from that of Lazarus, for "Christ being raised from the dead will never die again" (Romans 6:9), whereas Lazarus returned to earthly life, later to die again.

21-22. According to St. Augustine, Martha's request is a good example of confident prayer, a prayer of abandonment into the hands of God, who knows better than we what we need. Therefore, "she did not say, But now I ask You to raise my brother to life again. [...] All she said was, I know that You can do it; if you will, do it; it is for you to judge whether to do it, not for me to presume" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 49, 13). The same can be said of Mary's words, which St. John repeats at verse 32.

24-26. Here we have one of those concise definitions Christ gives of Himself, and which St. John faithfully passes on to us (cf. John 10:9; 14:6; 15:1): Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. He is the Resurrection because by His victory over death He is the cause of the resurrection of all men. The miracle He works in raising Lazarus is a sign of Christ's power to give life to people. And so, by faith in Jesus Christ, who arose first from among the dead, the Christian is sure that he too will rise one day, like Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:23; Colossians 1;18). Therefore, for the believer death is not the end; it is simply the step to eternal life, a change of dwelling-place, as one of the Roman Missal's Prefaces of Christian Death puts it: "Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death, we gain an everlasting dwelling place in Heaven".

By saying that He is Life, Jesus is referring not only to that life which begins beyond the grave, but also to the supernatural life which grace brings to the soul of man when he is still a wayfarer on this earth.

"This life, which the Father has promised and offered to each man in Jesus Christ, His eternal and only Son, who 'when the time had fully come' (Galatians 4:4), became incarnate and was born of the Virgin Mary, is the final fulfillment of man's vocation. It is in a way the fulfillment of the 'destiny' that God has prepared for him from eternity. This 'divine destiny' is advancing, in spite of all the enigmas, the unsolved riddles, the twists and turns of 'human destiny' in the world of time. Indeed, while all this, in spite of all the riches of life in time, necessarily and inevitably leads to the frontiers of death and the goal of the destruction of the human body, beyond that goal we see Christ. 'I am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in Me...shall never die.' In Jesus Christ, who was crucified and laid in the tomb and then rose again, 'our hope of resurrection dawned...the bright romise of immortality' ("Roman Missal", Preface of Christian Death, I), on the way to which man, through the death of the body, shares with the whole of visible creation the necessity to which matter is subject" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 18).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.